tv National Review Institute Ideas Summit Conservatism Panel CSPAN March 17, 2017 1:47pm-2:36pm EDT
with hillbilly elgie, a beautifully written book, a fantastic work and trying not to hate him for that quality on his first ever book. he's also -- he just wrote yesterday, going back to ohio, columbus, ohio, where unfortunately he'll be doomed to watch second tier football for the rest of his life. and then, look -- i'm sorry from the southeastern conference. i get to say that. and to my immediate right, kevin williamson, almost redefined the term right piece, right time, writing about working class communities to so much twitter acclaim in the election season. and from texas, livingston, texas. i live in the world famous mule capital of the world, columbia of tennessee, home of the annual mule day festival, which is as i like to call it, redneck
woodstock. and so we're here to talk about conservatism and the class divide. one of the hottest topics of the last year. when all of a sudden a big chunk of america looked up at the success of dnonald trump, looke at november 8th and the morning hours of november 9th and said who are these people that voted for donald trump in so many numbers? and then also looked at some really disturbing numbers about public health in the united states, about the rise of opioid addiction, the recognize of alcohol deaths, the rise of suicides and said what on earth is going on? that's what we're going to start with and i guess we'll start with j.d. and sort of for those who have -- don't want to summarize a book entirely, but those who have not read it, those who have not followed it closely, where are we right now? >> well, thank you, david.
thank you, kevin, for sharing the stage with me. and i guess hello, we bring tidings from real america. so where we are right now. i always frame this as and i hope the book framed this question as primarily one of the interaction of economics and culture because i think that it's impossible to completely disentangle one from another and they obviously influence one another in important ways. but fundamentally what's happened is two things. one, we've had an economy that you see on a ton of news headlines that is unable to provide very good working class jobs for large segment of the country. on the other hand you have a cultural disintegration happening at the same time. you talk about the opioid addiction stuff and rising suicide rates and rising rates of alcoholism and disintegration of the family and rising incarceration rates among the
white working class which is one of the few demographics to move in that direction while every other demographic is moving in the right direction. you have a group of people who feel, and in some cases rightfully feel, that country left them behind and that their societies are broadly declining and things just aren't working. you go outside. you see that all of the local businesses on main street from closed. you read the local newspaper. you see another neighbor died of an opioid overdose and so on and so on. my sense is that bred a very unique sense of frustration. it was possible to misinterpret will donald trump won the republican nomination but my sense is that now it's in everybody's faces. . whether you are conservative or l liber liberal you recognize that there is this large group of people. it is struggling and they are reflecting those frustrations in the way they vote and approach politics. that's my sense of what's going on pretty broadly and my book is just a very personal story of what that decline and what that struggle looks like.
>> kevin, you've got out and written from what you coin the big blight ghetto. the appalachia and the sou south-ksh. >> home, as i call it. >> exactly. that are fundamentally different from the stories we hear about today or over the last couple of day chess is there is this golden age with these thriving factory answers amazing jobs and the factory was shuttered and despair set in.age with these t answers amazing jobs and the factory was shuttered and despair set in. that's not the story of the big white ghetto. maybe could you talk a little bit. >> it was a place called alvy county kentucky. they hate to see reporters coming. they are used to us because every time the census comes out it comes out as the poorest census designated place in the united states. so they are used to journalists coming in for a couple days and
writing how much it sucks there. and the police chief there is funny. he is from new york city. he is staten island guy who married a local lady. he is the first guy you meet. a oh, yeah, i met david brooks. all the homeless people are that way and the golf course is that way. he makes fun of the whole enterprise. but what is interesting about this particular place and what is true broadly of a lot of greater appalachia and even into west texas where i'm from that the poor parts of the southwest, nothing happened. there wasn't some great industry there that went away. there wasn't some factory that closed down. there wasn't some -- anything like that. now if you go further east, there was some coal mining but it's always been poor. it stagnated while the rest of the country changes and becomes more and more dra mat nick contrast ease the rest of the country gets wealthier and it
stays where it's always been. my view about the political end of this is maybe different from those people. i read a lot about economics but i don't think it's an economic question. i think that what happen said we are really paying the wages of these so-called sexual revolution that most men in the world and average people in the world are more or less average. that's how things work. a little bit above average or a little bit we low average. most people, even in wealthy countries like the united states, have not taken a great deal of meaning in their life or status or sense of themselves from their jobs. they talk about careers and such and most people don't have careers. they have jobs. they have a thing they have to do. where your sense of self really came from is being a husband, being a father, being a provider, those sorts of things. we have essentially taken the option of having stable normal traditional families off of the
table. for a lot of the country they simply don't exist any more. the divorce rate has levelled off a little bit. but that's largely being driven by the fact that people aren't getting married to start with. so hooray. fewer divorces. so what we have is a very large group of people. i think about this in terms of men because there are sexual differences there, who traditionally would have derived a sense of self, relative place in the world and place in community from their position as men in their families. as husbands and fathers. and that being gone, what's left? some job, if it's not something that's going to give you that sense of value, that sense of worth, people talk about the late 1950s, early 1960s as golden age and in a sense there's something to that. it was an unusual time because we are an unusual industrial position because of the war. but you can have a 1957 standard of living today really easy on a
minimum wage job. people forget how poor 1957 was in real terms for ordinary people. you can have a 1957 car, house, health care. nobody really wants that. it is not about material standard of living. it is about people's relative sense of status in society. and that's one of the reasons why i think trump was an effective candidate because, i mean, he is a cartoon. he is a cartoon but a billionaire real estate tycoon from new york. sort of swaggering persona and that sort of thing and he speaks to a lot of those i think specifically male anxieties about status and place in society and all that. now the idea of looking that and saying, yes, that's what i aspire to i personally find horrifying and it makes me want to immigrate to switzerland. but you can understand in a broader social sense why a candidate like that would be appealing and has sense confidence, sense of not
compromising or not apologizing for who he is, even though he probably ought to apologize for who he is a lot of the time, you can certainly see the appeal of that and towards the background of that and the sociology. >> let's talk about something that came up yesterday in a pretty direct way. the subject is moving. so yesterday there was an economics panel and a pretty pointed exchange essentially saying that if you're looking at struggling communities and you're asking people to move, not only is that unrealistic, in a lot of ways it might be harmful is the argument. you are asking for people to leave family. to leave a community to whither that's been there for a long time. a couple of things came it mind. i know both of you have your own perspectives on that issue and one immediately is i thought oh, this is kevin williams right here. and we're going to have kevin here. and so i thought it would be --
your piece about moving and about moving from depressed economic areas to places where there are jobs might be one of the most slandered and misunderstood piece of writing that i have witnessed in a long time. >> breitbart. >> according to twitter. yeah, and to breitbart. i assume you saw what happened yesterday. >> mm-hm. >> love to get your reaction. >> well, two things about that. i will make it relatively brief. the pilgrims landed in massachusetts in november. if you've ever been to massachusetts in november, it's cold. and you know, not like landing in malibu. very different sort of place. so moving is in our dna. there a there is a reason there are more people from ireland in the
united states. they came here for opportunity. there weren't a lot of berkians on the mayflower. eventually you have to get up and mooj. while we should be sympathetic in our assessment of what is going on there, you are in a place with no job and no economic opportunity and no sense there will be some in the future. can you stay there and be miserable. can you be maintained on some sort of public dependency for the rest of your life or indefinitely. there's no fourth option there. so you can, in a berkian sense, take sense of what is being lost. and there are certain ways of life and certain communities that aren't going to make it and we know this. and some of them, what got people mad, is i said a lot of people don't deserve to. there are people who raise their children really badly and fill them and their neighbors and community with despair and dysfunction and addiction and violence and all sorts of things.
i say this from firsthand experience. this is how i grew up. i know that world a lot better than i would like to. if it goes way because people move to california or houston or some place else or better jobs or opportunities and better life and better schools, okay. i'm all right with that trade-off. and at the end of the day, there's not really another option. i don't think anybody, any self respecting person and kbagain i think there is a self respecting difference i don't think a self-respecting man wants to maintain indefinitely. i do. i would like to -- a very wealthy lady out there somewhere -- no, no, no. lynette will have to work harder. but i don't think anybody really wants that. i don't think this is just true of what we are talking about with appalachia and the white working class. i lived in south bronx for a long time. i didn't meet a lot of people up there who wanted to be maintained independency forever
either. we want to be in charge of our lives and have an element of control and while there may be a need for assistance and help of various kind which i'm a strong believer in, ultimately we have to structure that help in way that helps people to become ultimately self sufficient. policy wise, one of the things i've argued for is take unemployment benefits and restructuring them in a way that helps people meet the expenses of moving if they get a job somewhere. if you have 18 weeks of unemployment left, give that to someone who will take a job in pennsylvania in the oil fields or something. and you know, start a new life. there will be something lost but also something gained. >> jd, you're moving from silicon valley, right? >> yep. >> to ohio. that fits in with what you were sharing with us before on this topic of moving. >> right. i have conflicted views about moving. obviously the story of my grandparents' life is they went from eastern kentucky coal
country to the land of ohio, thanks to the industrial revolution happening, a lot of factory jobs. that's how, even though the story of the book is in a lot of ways one of downward mobility, we started in a descent spot because my grandfather worked a factory job for 30 or 35 years. and that's why i was able to have any of the things id growing up. i recognize the importance of moving but i do think there are -- so first, we have too little movement in the country. i think most economists recognize this. we have the lowest rates of geographic mobility since the post war period and we have these massive regional disparities. we have places like denver, colorado that has 2 or 3% unemployment. then places like most counties of west virginia that have 20, 30% unemployment. that doesn't fully capture the scale of the underemployment, people who completely dropped out of the labor force and so forth. there's a good argument to be made that it would be bet are for people to pick up from where
they are are and move. but i also think we have to recognize the importance of place in a lot of people's lives. a lot of people's sense of identities, right? there is a regional part of this, right? we talk about those moving from england it massachusetts. but when they are moving for opportunity aren't moving from the uk to massachusetts even though i don't think it was call the uk back then. but moving from let's say, west virginia to ohio. or from kentucky to atlanta. they still have a broad regional sense of place. still connected to grand parents and aunts and uncles and so forth. we have such concentrated areas of economic development and improve amount that that choice even that interregional choice or sorry intraregional mobility choice is becoming impossible. it is hard, let's say, to move from eastern tennessee to let's say west virginia because there aren't a lot of jobs any place
in between. i do think we have to be mindful of the fact, maybe not as a matter of policy but just those of us who, and i wrote this yesterday in the times, those of us who have been lucky enough to have certain opportunities that we shouldn't wholly abandon the communities we came from p.. we should be mindful that we do owe something in a berkian sense to the places that raised us and created us. i encourage people to be mindful of that though i don't think we need to have a massive infrastructure project that will create a 30 million jobs in appalachia, for example. but the last point i'll make there is that i worry about this aless from the opposite side. we talk about lower income americans. americans who can't find jobs and whether they should be moving to areas of greater opportunity. but i also really worry about the fact that the trend in modern american elites is to go to five or six cities. right? if you go and get a fancy education you end up in new
york, d.c., seattle, san francisco or l.a. maybe chicago. right? and this is a pretty significant problem culturally because it ends up taking a lot of talent, a lot of people who get sucked away from the communities that care about them. redistributed to the coastal cities. culturally kond send and look down ton ton the people they co from. conservatives above all should be mindful of the fact that if you live in a place like west virginia it's not just a question of whether you should pick up and move to a pliace tht has opportunity, but when you send your kids away from college, they start to dislike you. maybe dislike the community they came from. i don't think that's very -- that's a very effective way it run a successful political discourse in the country. >> one of the things that gave me whiplash in this 2016 cycle was my entire life growing up as
conservative, looking at the deep-seeded problems you've seen in inner city, the conservative argument was we need to repair the family. we need to repair the civic institutions in these cities. we need to support the church and people of faith and faith-based institutions as they are reaching out. that government coming in and purporting to solve what ails inner city chicago or worst parts of the bronx is just the wrong answer. you know what we also need a whole lot of is individual responsibility. no one makes you have children out of wedlock. no one makes you delay indefinitely or not be unmarried or be unfaithful to your life. no one makes you take drugs. we need people to step up in their lives. that's a conservative argument for a long time. then one of the interesting things in 2016 as we look at a white working class community that as charles murray very ably laid out in coming aprt was
attending church dramatically less. that was taking drugs more. that was breaking up their own families or cohabiting or you name the social condition that was mirroring in many ways this condition in the inner cities. and some of us conservatives were saying, you know, wow, people need to take some personal responsibility here. they need to get married and stay married. they need to come back it church. that this is a cultural problem. faith-based problems. more than a government problem. and the response to that was an overwhelming thunderous, you're an elitist. you're a beltway elitist. you're condescending. here's my simple question. are republicans hypocrites? >> let's hope so. you're not into good foreign politics if you're a hypocrite. something i run into a lot in my
writing, and i don't say this to give nasty racial feelings to people, because i don't think that's exactly what it is. but what conservatives used it say about blacks and latinos and we now say about white and whites are upset about this. what you say about inner city is also applied to places like where i'm from and where jd is from. and the people who live there don't like that much. and who blames them? we should remember that also the black people and brown people didn't like it either and they don't vote for republicans for a lot of reasons. so i don't think that people will ever welcome that sort of criticism themselves. and of course it is easier to make criticisms of people who are different from you in some ways who don't share your experiences. i think if people were more rational, and you could stop the sentence right there, they could listen to people who are more
like them. people who share experiences with you share values with you who share background with you are in some ways bet are positioned to understand what your problems are. which is one of the reason conservatives had poor luck making our case in black and latino community especially even when they lack policies. things like school choice. can you go into d.c. and interview black families and take polls and they come down with us on education a hundred percent of the time and believe betsy devosy is the devil. these aren't shared goals or shared concerns i don't think. is this hypocrisy? hypocrisy is the dumbest thing to talk about in politics. it is like talking about alcohol. like a social lubricant wouldn't be the same without it. and writing about policy prescriptions -- i don't wanttot hijack things, but one thing jd said that i want to respond to quickly. you said it is hard to move to
west virginia. well it is hard to move to san francisco or where you live in silicon valley. one thing we can do from a policy point of view, at the state and local level especially, is to enact changes that make housing more affordable. house thouston, you can move there because you can get an apartment for $600 and it is not horrible to move there. where as new york city. what do you have to have to get an apartment? $12,000 probably? a lot of people don't have that. there are a lot of people moving to silicon valley, not rich. 17 to a house and service sector. we could make it more comfortable for people to take the position if we give them a place to move to. we say yes, you can take the job, but we should also think about, where are they going to live? >> i think one of the most underappreciated drivers of mobility in the united states is the fact we have such terrible housing policy at the state and
local level. especially in towns and cities where there's a ton of economic opportunity, right? and it is sort of weird to have lived in san francisco for a couple of years. and to find the democratic party is the rational party when it comes to housing policy. so there is always this wear between democrats about the left wing should we build for affordable housing and more rent control and the center left of the democratic party saying should we open up building and make it easier to build places where people can live. and it is sort of bizarre it agree with the democrats. but in san francisco i guess that's as good as you get. the republican population of san francisco recently dropped by 50%. because i moved to ohio. so this question about personal responsibility and this is something sma, i care a lot about because it is one of the themes in my book and i think there's a difference between the discursive element of personal
responsibility and then the real substantive question about what is happening on the ground. so i think as matter of political discourse and the way that our political leaders and other leaders frame this question, we have to continue to talk about personal responsibility. whether in the context of the black community, white community, whatever. because when you're a kid who grows up in a circumstance where most people around you are struggling, you start to feel that struggling is the norm and it is useful to have people talking about the importance of personal agency and directing your own life. this is something that i really harp on in the book. look, you can admit that life is unfair for a certain segment of americans. can you admit that the deck is not totally even for a kid born in a household like mine but still say you can some control over your life. if we lose that, then we basically send a message to every kid growing up in terrible circumstances that you should just give up because there is nothing you can do to change
your circumstances. so from the level of conversation and how we talk about this stuff, i think it's important to keep the emphasis on personal responsibility. what worries me a little bit, and i will criticism both the way we talked about this vi vis-a-vis the black community and the way we talk about this vis-a-vis the white community, is that it is not all about the individual. we are berkians. there are individuals and the state and then all this stuff that exist in the middle. and that's where i do think the rhetoric of personal responsibility while again important rhetorically does fail to capture what is going on in the ground in some of the community. you can look at my life and look at me when i'm a 14-year-old kid about to fail out of high school. you could say that kid is making poor choices. you would be right. i should have been making 2.0 gpa as a freshman in high school. i should be failing freshman english as a freshman in high school. but you have to look at cultural dimension and expectations that
my community is setting for me. look at the fact i lived in a very traumatic very unstable home and that made it hard to study and made me not want to go home when the school bell rang at the end of the day. i this that i conservatives would do well to actually recognize this isn't purely a failure of individuals making the right choices. this is very often a failure of community to provide the right opportunities to a lot of the people who grow up in these circumstances. that is true in black community and is true and continues to be true in white community too. this raises, i think, an important point. i will cirque you will back to the housing point that kevin started this with. one of the most powerful drivers, we know this and see this in data is enclaves of concentrated property. right? and it is completely intuitive, why? because if you grow up seeing only struggles, only december pa ra desperation, you internalize that that's all that's possible. one thing driving poverty in the
black community, especially, but even in the white community with section 8 is we almost encourage the poor to trap themselves in little enclaves. only poor people and shockingly we're surprised that kids in those circumstances have their expectations warped by it. we need to talk about the importance of individual responsibility. >> one of the things about your book, we talk about personal responsibility but you didn't really know how to take responsibility for your life in a lot of ways until you joined the marine correlateps correlat. also a one point is housing. one people who are poor or come up without a lot of resources is to be around with people that aren't like that. my friend' parent were professors and doctors and lawyers. so one thing i didn't know how to do like fill out an application form or financial
aid or things that my parent couldn't help me with there were others around me who could. communities that are more mixed, there is the opportunity to do that. we talk about personal responsibility, you don't apply that it a 10-year-old typically. >> exactly. >> although, get a job, 10-year-old. >> i'm really glad we're using the phrase personal responsibility. and there is a missing element to that in my mind. so we often think of the responsibility of government. we think of the responsibility of the person who is in the position where we perceive them needing help. we don't often talk about what is my personal responsibility as a member of the community. what do i do? i live in a town that is not as prosperous as nashville by any means. what you might more broadly call the disability belt. there's an awful lot of struggling folks who live in my town. what's my responsibility in that context? i think that's something that we
as conservatives, what we want to do is model values we proclaim. i think that involves getting in -- getting involved in communities. i think this is a general rule can you rely on. you can have a lot of influence over a few people. and very little influence over many people. and we often end up spending our time thinking of the ways which we have very little influence over many rather than ways we can have inflew enover a few. and you know, so that being said, let me just segue into politics where we will talk about a lot of input. i just today juhad to jump on m box for a minute. and i will jump back on the soap box. just briefly. we cannot be afraid to talk about faith in this context.
we can't be afraid, because the larger world says you're judgmental, is to talk about the whole that has left, because they left church, the hole in their heart that's been left.hoy left church, the hole in their heart that's been left. it is renewal, i think to fill that public hole, not with policy but with faith again. that's a critical element for which public policy is poorly equipped to deal with. but let's talk about some of the the ways that public policy right now, we have talked about housing. some of the ways you think public policy is hurting the poor. one of the ways that comes off the top of my mind is disability. the disability system. i know kevin you have written about that as well and maybe walk some people exactly how can a system designed to help the most suffering population of americans, those with permanent disabilities, perversely turn into a system that sustains dependency and misery?
>> yeah. you look at the numbers and it is shocking. you find numbers where 1 in 5 working-aged men is disabled. my god, was there a terrible accident? what happened here? how did everyone get disabled at the same time? of course these are disabilities related fairly conditions. in some places you could be cred disabled because of addiction. that generally doesn't happen. but it is chronic fatigue, pain, anxiety disorder. i call anxiety disorder being human. that is part of the ball game. that's how it is. any time there is money on the table someone will pick it up, right? like my lefty friend, did you know iran took medicare? of course you did. you know bill gate will cash the security check when it comes in. the welfare picks up a lot of
that. but if you are someone who doesn't want it relocate and maybe doesn't have a lot of good skills, maybe an high school degree, not a lot of economic prospects, well if there is x, y, z on the table and you get this, that or the other benefit and a lot of things available to men especially with disbility, easier to get food stamps if you have children in the household which is not usually the case with unmarried men. tend to be with the mothers. this is a form of unemployment insurance. ehe is not blly is the way it works. a way it extend unemployment benefits for people not really looking for jobs any more and probably aren't going to find them. it need to be more policed more carefully than it is. and prosecuted there is fraud more than it is. but there is also one of those things where we're always having benefits for disabled people. we as a society are wealthy. we won't allow people to starve
to death on the sidewalks. and a certain class of people will always be helped. children, mentally ill and people would cannot do something for themselves. people with disabilities, you know, you can't tell a guy who doesn't have arms or legs to go get a job. i won't make that joke this time. but a very, very large share, and maybe the majority of people, receiving disability benefits, are not disabled in any of the sense. they are not people who could not do work. and you would be surprised how they do become disabled if something comes up, a job they want. i have a friend who is a private investigator and t90% of his wok is investigating disability claims. and 920% of the -- you know, they get to that point, typically people who have done that.0% of the -- you know, they get to that point, typically people who have done that. it is one of those unfortunate
traps that paul ryan talks about from time to time. but it is also something to keep in mind about the broader discussion like social security reform. if you raise the age of retirement you will put people on disability. people who are 68 or 6 9 years old, they cannot do the work they did at 30 or 35. it doesn't necessarily solve your problem. i wobt miuldn't mind a system w we paid out with a welfare system that is more generous. if it was more honest and transparent. not to go on on a long tangent but i read something that texas wants it pass a law requiring insurance companies to cover hearing aids for children. you are talking about a couple hundred kids a year born with hearing disabilities. just send them a check. laundering money through insurance companies doesn't make it any more efficient or take away the badness or anything like that. i would prefer a system more honest and direct and more honest about the means. we want you to get a job and we
will incentivize that in verius obvious kinds of ways. here is the care and here is the stick. you get one or the other.re and the stick. you get one or the other.oe and the stick. you get one or the other.te and the stick. you get one or the other. and h the stick. you get one or the other. >> not confined to disability but what are other ways you have seen in your life and studies where public policy is hurting maybe more than helping? or so inefficient to be useless? >> sure. not just in the disability context but in a lot of our welfa welfare programs. we have a benefits cliff where you work an additional ten hours a week and your benefits are cut so much that it almost doesn't make financial sense any more. related disability, one of the things that came across my mind when kevin was talking is that this comes up in the context of youth, children and school a lot. in a very sad way because a lot of times parents get a disability check if their kid is classified as learning disabled. of course that creates an
incentive. and maybe the kid is. but it keep your kid below grade level reading because if the kid matches up or catches up then you have a problem where you lose the disability check. there are a lot of different cliffs like that in the social welfare system that should be fixed and i think could be fixed. one thing that comes to mind that doesn't get talked a lot so i will talk about it here is that if we think about the real drivers of social problems in our society, not everyone, but a significant proportion of the social problems in our society come from people who were abused and neglected as children. the number is 600,000 to 700,000 kids a year who go into the child welfare system. there are a lot of kids who are abused or neglected and never make it to the system in the first place. you look at high school rates, incarceration rates, those are problems children quite literally in our society. one of the best and i think the hidden social safety net for a lot of these kids is what family
law folks call kinship care. if you look at the outcomes for a kid let's say who's placed with a grand parent and aunt or uncle away from an abused or neglected kid those kids' outcomes are much better. even approaching a kid never removed from the home in the first place. but you look at outcomes for a home placed in traditional foster care system and those outcomes are much, much worse. the kid is already messed up. already abused and neglected. ripped out of their family extended network and placed with a complete stranger for a couple years and at the end of the couple years they end up with the same family in the first place. so you think about that scale, of 00,000, 700,000 a year, and public policy creates real financial and sometimes legal disincentives to allowing abuse he'd neglected kid to go with their extended family.
one example is if you are a foster family and you take in an abused child then you get paid for it. and you should. a family member, even though it is more positive for a grand parent, you don't get that payment. if you're not a licensed foster care agent you can't even legally take custody of the kid in the first place. of course have you more and more kid going into this situation. i think that's one of the hidden ways that we really prohibit and disincentivize one of the really successful safety nets in our society. again, we have brought up berk white a bit, but i think that second layer of the family as the most jununderappreciated element in that policy. >> and your broader berk yn point is right around, right around the time i was born,
early 1970s we ran this crazy experiment. what happens if we have children not raised with families? here we are and we're nuts. you can't go back on it. >> the sexual revolution aspect of this is something for which there should be a nationwide wreckoning. we have a message sent for decades that the traditional family, not only does it matter, but it is viewed as an instrument of oppression. the idea of an intact mother/father household was defining. and the divorce is the birth of human freedom. instead we find out what happened when you abandoned tried and tested structures the outcomes are not always great. one of the things that i think is so -- so sad about the modern trend has been that the increase in death rate. it is driven by the despair,
markers of despair, alcohol poisoning. the news, i believe, just yesterday or wednesday evening that the death rate from opioid overdoses now surpassed the death right at the height of the aides aids epidemic. a disease with no known cure ripping through people. then suicide, triple, suicide rate in some ways is triple what it was in 20, 30 years ago. >> and i would add real quick, and maybe people here know exactly what you're talking about which is that the life expectancies for white men without college degrees is declining for the first time since we've been keeping records. and drivers are addiction diabetes and suicide. >> i messed up my statistic on suicide rates. highest they've been in 30 years. more than cancels out the
bringing down the homicide rate. more americans are dying by their own hand an evthan ever d at the hands of the crack ep deppic. >> i think there is an obvious point here, we need better jobs and better training and so forth. obviously an element of which policy can help. but one of the arguments i make is that you can't purely look at this through an economic policy lens and those statistics are one of the reasons. the opioid addiction rate and suicide rate among white working class americans is higher than among black poor americans even though materially black americans are still worse off than the average white poor american. there is clearly a cultural element to this that we have to understand and at least talk about. >> yeah. you can drop a textile mill into the middle of a tun and it doesn't mean a strange husband and wife textile.
>> you know, you can move that tesla battery plant here but you have to bring all of the workers in from the outside. we don't have anyone here to do those jobs. so there's a bit of a chicken and egg problem there. >> right. >> that's an old story in eastern kentucky. when you grow up in kentucky as i did, right on the western edge, i would still be called a flat-lander. though we had rolling hills, just for the record. not the appalachian mountains. the shear number of well intentioned efforts brought in to try to turn around eastern kentucky. yet eastern kentucky remained eastern kentucky. and so that's, you know, one of the things so beneficial and we will wrap up, both of your writings, it's not the public policy doesn't matter, public policy matters. it always matters, but there are wounds that public policy can't heal. that a tremendously powerful